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By the book: Fall releases offer 'can't miss' titles




Karin Gillespie | Columnist

September 24, 2021 Fall is an abundance of riches for readers because it’s the season when publishers release their most highly anticipated titles. It’s also the time of year when people ask me, “What book are you most looking forward to?”



Where did Narnia come from? That’s the question posed in the novel “Once Upon a Wardrobe” by Patti Callahan. Megs Devonshire, a logical-minded student on scholarship at Oxford, has a younger brother George who’s dying. After reading “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” George begs his sister to approach C.S. Lewis and convince him to reveal the origins of Narnia.

The famous author doesn’t immediately discuss Narnia but instead regales Megs with stories of his early life. When Megs eventually discovers the secret behind Narnia, she finds it captures a hopeful truth that defies her measured and practical way of approaching the world.

Alabama author Callahan first wrote about Lewis in the novel “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” and “Once Upon a Wardrobe” is her second fictional tribute to the author, which casts a charming and engaging spotlight on his childhood. Pre-Order the Book


My choice this autumn is “Apples Never Fall” by Liane Moriarty. Moriarty specializes in domestic suspense, one of the most popular genres in literature, yet she elevates the category with layered characters, spot-on observations and sly humor. Her latest novel is one of her most accomplished, and it centers on the Delaney family whose matriarch, Joy, goes missing.

The main suspect in Joy’s disappearance is Stan, her husband. The grown Delaney children can’t imagine their dad harming their mom, but they are disturbed when they uncover secrets he’s been hiding. By the time all is revealed, the children find themselves re-framing their family history. If you read only one novel this October, you can’t miss with “Apples Never Fall.”


Some friendships seem indestructible, especially ones that have endured since kindergarten. Jen and Riley are as close as sisters, but to outsiders they seem worlds apart. Jen is expecting her first child after years of trying and can’t wait to be a mom. Riley is poised to become one of the first Black female anchors of a news channel.

Their bond is tested when Jen’s husband, a police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager, and Riley is assigned to cover the story. The incident makes both women examine where their loyalties lie.

“We Are Not Like Them” by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza delves into complex racial issues and how they can shape and shake our most intimate ties. Ultimately, it’s a story about the resilience of female friendships, making it the type of novel that will likely launch hundreds of book club discussions.


Few authors attract so many fans that they form lines that stretch around the block, but North Carolina writer David Sedaris is one of those authors. Why? Because he’s the kind of writer who can manage to make a grocery list hilarious and insightful.

In Sedaris’s latest book, “A Carnival of Snackery,” readers are treated to a peek into his diary. There’s his usual observations about the foibles of family life and the characters he encounters in his frequent travels. But this diary also reveals a slightly darker Sedaris who meditates on mortality, illness and suicide. Still the mood never stays gloomy for long. For instance, when Sedaris has a tumor removed, he decides he wants to feed it to a snapping turtle. His latest book will delight long-term fans but is also a great introduction to those who have yet to discover Sedaris’s signature witticism.


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